By Dan Shapley
Continued Growth Shows Need For Green Building Guidelines
The construction market isn't suffering much from a slowdown in the once red-hot housing market. Commercial and institutional construction, industrial projects and transportation infrastructure have not slowed down -- and in some cases, are the logical followup to the suburban sprawl that dominated construction during the boom. What's it mean for the environment? Two things, straight away:
- Untouched lands -- farms, forests, wetlands -- will be threatened by the continued push to build out in a way that most reputable planners, in this day and age, agree is unsustainable. Sprawling housing development breeds roads, breeds cars, breeds new grocery stores, retail outlets and schools, which breeds more cars -- and all the attendant pollution from exhaust pipes, power plants and the trucking that deliver the food and goods to the new communities.
- Without green building standards being widely enforced or encouraged, all this new construction is less than state-of-the art. With the political landscape clearly following on the heals of scientific understanding and public concern, the days of energy-hogging buildings are numbered, and these relics of the current age should be held to the standards of the next.